Green Schools Alliance Announces Creation of the District Collaborative

Jan 25, 2016, 08:00 ET from Green Schools Alliance

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Green Schools Alliance (GSA), an international organization of sustainable schools, announced the formation of the Green Schools Alliance District Collaborative which will harness the collective power of schools to support greener, more efficient solutions. The Collaborative is comprised of 21 U.S. school districts - 8 of which are among the 12 largest districts in the country. Collectively, these districts affect the lives of 3.6 million children in 5,726 schools with more than 550 million square feet of building area. Districts will create and share best practices, leverage their combined purchasing power to increase access to sustainable alternatives, promote market transformation, and influence policy decisions.

Charter members of the District Collaborative include (listed in order of size based on number of students):

New York City Department of Education, NY

Austin Independent School District, TX

Chicago Public Schools, IL

Virginia Beach City Public Schools, VA

Clark County School District, NV

San Francisco Unified School District, CA

Broward County Public Schools, FL

Boston Public Schools, MA

Houston Independent School District, TX

District of Columbia Public Schools, DC

Orange County Public Schools, FL

Oakland Unified School District, CA

Fairfax County Public Schools, VA

Detroit Public Schools, MI

The School District of Palm Beach County, FL

Lincoln Public Schools, NE

The School District of Philadelphia, PA

Fayette County Public Schools, KY

San Diego Unified School District, CA

Kansas City Public Schools, MO

Denver Public Schools, CO

Represented by their districts' sustainability personnel, districts will work together to accelerate hands-on sustainability action in local school communities and at the national level. The Collaborative believes that every child has a right to learn, engage, and play in a healthy and sustainable environment, in which every person is aware of and accountable for their impact. To support this vision, the Collaborative will leverage its collective knowledge, experience, and influence to accelerate the implementation of sustainability principles that incorporate sound environmental, economic, and equitable decisions in schools nationwide.

"GSA's vision has always been to affect change at the national and global scale. When schools come together to create a global green school community and connect across generations, socioeconomics, and geopolitics, we can make giant leaps of progress from many small steps," states Margaret Watson, founder and president of the GSA.  

With more than 130,000 K-12 public schools in the U.S. and an increasing number of superintendents hiring district-level sustainability directors, the potential impact of the Collaborative is significant. As members of the Green Schools Alliance, the districts have committed to taking action on one or all of GSA's three tracks: 1) reducing climate and ecological impact; 2) educating and engaging their communities; and 3) connecting students to nature. GSA is a rapidly growing international organization of schools that are seeking to improve sustainability and that work together to address environmental education and operational challenges. Being a GSA member offers a platform for schools and school districts to share their best practices in facilities and operations, education, and administration and to affect national standards and industries. The Collaborative is especially excited to be working within the GSA to develop programs that directly impact students, including project-based STEAM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Art-Mathematics) initiatives and online youth leadership training programs for middle and high school students.

"When the New York City school system wanted to adopt an ambitious sustainability agenda, we joined the Green Schools Alliance as the first public school system member," states John T. Shea, Chief Executive Officer of the New York City Department of Education's Division of School Facilities. "I am so excited that my peers are joining us in a collective force for positive change."

Later in 2016, the Green Schools Alliance will be debuting the first phase of its new online community, based around GSA's core concept of empowering peer-to-peer networking and sharing best practices. The new community will enable students and school professionals to find resources to meet their needs to make their school more sustainable and to learn the leadership skills to affect that change. The second phase of the online platform will include a web-based measurement and reporting platform/dashboard that will improve data collection, including resource efficiencies and energy-use reporting in member schools. The platform's quantitative approach will enable districts to share energy, water, and waste information with their schools to encourage conservation behavior.

About the Green Schools Alliance
An international coalition of sustainable schools created in 2007 by schools for schools, the GSA has grown to more than 7,800 public and private schools in 41 U.S. states and 53 countries impacting over 5 million students. Member schools range from small rural indigenous schools in India to the largest school districts in the U.S., as well as many independent schools worldwide.

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SOURCE Green Schools Alliance